Established in London in 2004, Connecting Cultures is recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations as one of the world's leading and most innovative civil society projects addressing the issue of intercultural dialogue between young people.
Endorsed by UNESCO in Paris and Doha, and working in close partnership with the Ministry of Education in Oman, Connecting Cultures takes groups of young people from the western and Arab world on intensive, five day journeys into the desert of Oman.
In an environment where mobile phones do not work, the young people are able to engage in undisturbed face to face dialogue, identifying shared values and exploring cultural differences. Connecting Cultures targets young people aged 17-24 who are potential future leaders and opinion formers in society. Thanks to the support of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Centre in Oman, we are able to run three Connecting Cultures journeys each year.
At Connecting Cultures we believe that our programme is far more powerful than conference based workshops and internet based programmes. The wilderness experience is far removed from the cultural influences of our daily lives, and strips participants of the normal social basis for personal identity. In the absence of masks, peer pressure and doors to hide behind, participants must confront themselves. The desert is socially ambiguous; status differences soon dissolve, and candid interactions occur. Stories are told, secrets revealed and pains shared, encouraged by the trust developed through the cooperation required on a mutual journey.